Pointers and array

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# 1  
Old 09-13-2013
Pointers and array

Hello, I read from a book exercise for a challenge. How to print out each letter of char array a[][][] by two different pointers pa and ppa in the example?
I have tried my code for letter "r" by testing without full understanding as only the first one worked.
int main()
    char a[4][3][2] = { {{'a', 'b'}, {'c', 'd',}, {'e', 'f'}},
                                   {{'g', 'h'}, {'i', 'j'}, {'k', 'l'}},
                                   {{'m', 'n'}, {'o', 'p'}, {'q', 'r'}},
                                   {{'s', 't'}, {'u', 'v'}, {'w', 'x'}}

    char (*pa)[2] = &a[1][0];
    char (*ppa)[3][2] = &a[1];

//I tried out this one without much understanding.
    printf("The letter r can be reached by pointer *pa is: %c\n", pa[4][3]);
//No error at compiling time, but did not print out the letter r.
    printf("The letter r can be reached by pointer *ppa is: %c\n", ppa[4]);

    return 0;

Thank you in advance!
# 2  
Old 09-13-2013
This is a highly unusual way of using arrays and pointers.

Seeing where *pa starts may help:

printf("The first element of *pa is: %c\n", pa[0][0]);

The [1][0] has moved you one down the outermost dimension of the array, so it starts at {{'g', 'h'}, {'i', 'j'}, {'k', 'l'}}

[1][1] would move you one down and one in, so you'd start at {{'i', 'j'}, {'k', 'l'}}
This User Gave Thanks to Corona688 For This Post:
# 3  
Old 09-14-2013
Interesting pointer address

Thanks Coron!

I know the author is to emphasize the relationship of pointer and array address. But I could not figure out the way of this complicate case. Could you please explain a little about these two lines, especially a[][] and a[]?
    char (*pa)[2] = &a[1][0];
    char (*ppa)[3][2] = &a[1];

And I have tried out:
printf("The first element of *pa is: %c\n", pa[0][0]); // g
printf("The first element of *pa is: %c\n", pa[1][0]); // h
printf("The first element of *pa is: %c\n", pa[0][1]); // i
printf("The first element of *pa is: %c\n", pa[1][1]); // j

How to get a ~ f ? and pa[0][2], p[1][0], ppa[0][0][2] all get letter "i" ???? Need more reading! Thank you again. Have a nice weekend.

---------- Post updated 09-14-13 at 01:56 AM ---------- Previous update was 09-13-13 at 06:02 PM ----------

Kind of get it now!
Because of the definition of (*pa)[2]=&a[1][0] and (*ppa)=&a[1], there is no way to get letter "a" ~ "f" unless I define:
    char (*pa)[2] = &a[0][0];
    char (*ppa)[3][2] = &a[0];

Wait a minute!!!.....Can anyone explain why there are multiple addresses to get the letter "r" ? I did an exhaust search, found out
pa[0][11], pa[1][9], pa[2][7], pa[3][5], pa[4][3], pa[5][1]

all give "r"; and also
ppa[0][0][11], ppa[0][1][9], ppa[0][2][7], ppa[0][3][5], ppa[0][4][3], ppa[0][5][1], ppa[1][0][5], ppa[1][1][3], ppa[1][2][1]

all give letter "r".
This must be something with pointer and array, and I have noticed the first 6 ppa[][][] addresses have the same index by ignoring the first dimension [0][][] . Two points I need experties:
1) multiple addresses to the same letter;
2) some index (11, 9, 7, 5) are way bigger than the max array dimension (which is 4, intuitively.).
Interesting, but something very new to me. Thanks a lot!

Last edited by yifangt; 09-14-2013 at 04:46 AM.. Reason: Wrong understanding of the question/answer.
# 4  
Old 09-16-2013
Originally Posted by yifangt
Wait a minute!!!.....Can anyone explain why there are multiple addresses to get the letter "r" ?
It has to do with how memory is organized.

Your big array is one block of memory organized linearly, like

'a', 'b', 'c', 'd','e', 'f', 'g', 'h', 'i', 'j', 'k', 'l', 'm', 'n', 'o', 'p', 'q', 'r', 's', 't', 'u', 'v', 'w', 'x'

...and the only difference is the equation the compiler generates to access it.

If it's an n*2 array, the compiler does something like arr[(2*index2)+index1] to access the array. If you really wanted, you could ignore index2, and just step through the entire array with index1, but if you don't know what you're doing you might step beyond the bounds of the array by accident.
This User Gave Thanks to Corona688 For This Post:
# 5  
Old 09-16-2013
Thanks Corona!
I am getting close to the point now, except the two addresses:
ppa[1][1][3],  ppa[1][2][1]

which seem not out of the boundaries in the three dimension 4, 3 & 2.
# 6  
Old 09-16-2013
What is the question?
# 7  
Old 09-16-2013
My question is why both ppa[1][1][3], ppa[1][2][1] print out the same letter "r"?
ppa[1][2][1]is obvious, but ppa[1][1][3]seems to me not rational. Is it because [3] is out of the bounds again, which is supposed to be 2 as defined as ppa[3][2]? I am a little bit confused C automatic changes the address behind, somehow.

Last edited by yifangt; 09-16-2013 at 08:05 PM..
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